The Beetle and the Dragonfly ~ Chenge and the Spider pt 2

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“……..I leave no trace…..shadowless, I see all…..I am the eye in the Sun……”

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It was the silence that awoke him. There had been voices, rising and falling, reverberating as one sound, but, far off and indistinct, like a crowded market place heard as if from a hill top high above. The sound breathed, rising like a flock of birds on waves of warm air, before sinking back into the earth like rain on parched ground. Then, suddenly, there was silence.

The first thing Ake felt was soft fine sand between his fingers. He opened his eyes and blinked rapidly in the scorching white light. Then he saw it. Resting on the back of his hand, an iridescent blue dragonfly. It was larger than any he had seen before and was so shockingly beautiful that, in that moment, Ake wondered if he was still dreaming….until, the wondrous insect bobbed slightly and, quickly hovering away over his head, was lost to sight.

sundragonhandHe turned, craning his neck, trying to follow the dragonfly’s flight, but, it had disappeared over the crest of the dune……then, all at once, it hit Ake. He was surrounded by sand, nestled in a hollow near the top of a sweeping crescent. He leapt to his feet, confused and more than a little frightened.

‘Where am I……..!?’ he spoke out loud. There was no answer……

‘How did I get here?! Where is Pemba…..?’

But, he was alone. And this place, it was so hot……he felt the sun on his back, beginning to burn. His eyes began to smart with salt tears and Ake felt his toes curl as a wave of fear rose up through his body. But, the feeling of something against the side of his foot made him gasp.

He jumped involuntarily and, looking down, saw that his head had been resting on the diviners bag, Pemba’s red woollen blanket folded neatly underneath it. He was momentarily reassured and, shaking his head with a sigh, he bent down to touch the precious talismans. But, the sound from Ake’s dream was still fresh in his mind and, with it, he remembered the dragonfly. It had been there on his hand when he had opened his eyes, he was sure of it, but, for a brief moment he wondered if a part of his dream had leaked into the daylight. The sudden compulsion to follow the insect’s flight pulled him out of his thoughts and he crawled on all fours towards the crest of the dune. When he reached the top the sight that met his young eyes was unlike any Ake had ever seen before.

An ocean of sand stretched as far as he could see, majestic and terrifying. Ake had a sense that it was not too long after sunrise, but, even though the sun was not high in the sky, the light and heat was intense. He’d never before left the savanah and the land surrounding him was completely alien to Ake. He turned slowly, surveying the parched horizon. Rippling away as far as he could see seemingly endless shimmering golden dunes were cut with deep shadows. Off to what he guessed was the north the pattern of the dunes was interrupted by a wider valley, but, Ake could see no trees or shrubs anywhere that might give him shade. There was not a living thing to be seen.

But, the dragonfly……there must be water nearby, and……he struggled with a half forgotten memory that wanted to emerge…..he was sure that he had heard someone talking about dragonflies only a few days ago. Ake shook his head and, confronted with the silence of the vastness surrounding him, suddenly felt the need to call out.

‘Hello……’

The sound of his voice in the midst of the vast desert only made him feel smaller and more alone. A tear ran down his cheek and he absent mindedly caught it with the tip of his tongue. Suddenly very thirsty, he retraced his steps, knelt by the divining bag and carefully felt beneath the blanket. The sand below was deliciously cool and soon his fingers felt the stone like smoothness of the drinking gourd. ‘Just a sip now, brother Ake…’ he heard Pemba’s voice in his mind.

‘Pemba’, he said softly as he put the stopper back in the gourd and tied it securely.

It may have been the taste of the clear spring water that triggered his memory, or perhaps it was the thought of Pemba’s advice, but, Ake suddenly remembered where he had heard about the dragonflies. It was Pemba himself who had told him. He had been recounting his own journey to the oasis as a young man. This had been a part of Pemba’s own initiation, but, initiation was far from Ake’s mind in that moment – the oasis was the meeting place Pemba had said they must travel to and medicine people from all directions would be gathering there.

The thought of the meeting was curiously re-assuring to Ake. It almost made sense of his being here, surrounded by desert. But, he had no recollection of the journey that had brought him! And, where was he? Was he close to the oasis – he must at least try and find out.

Gathering up the diviner’s bag, shaking out and refolding the blanket, he returned to the top of the dune and tried to decide on the best direction to go in. He looked back at where he had been sleeping. There were no footprints, save his own, but, he could not see a trail telling which direction he might have come from either.

It was instinct that said he must move, and, since it did not look as though Pemba had been there, he felt there was no choice. Ake looked down the face of the dune below. This was the direction he had last seen the dragonfly heading towards, and so, he carefully began to descend into its shadow. The sand was quite cool out of the sunlight, and he relished the feeling of it around his feet as it seemed to freshen his mind. Just as he came to the bottom of the slope he had another realisation. They had been in the Spider Mother’s cave when Pemba had begun talking about the meeting and had told Ake about the magical beauty of the oasis. He stopped in his tracks and thought hard……

….slowly the memory came back to him and, with it, a strong feeling that he should head north.

Scarab1Just at that moment a movement to his left caught his attention. At first he put it off as a trick of the light, a passing shadow, but, there it was again. Some ten feet away, and running straight towards him, was a beetle. No bigger than his thumb and very dark against the sand, the beetle came to within two feet of Ake and stopped. He leant towards it and, quite naturally, said ‘hello, little one’. A shimmer of dark green iridescence glanced off the beetle’s shell. ‘Do you know where the dragonfly went’ he thought, half to himself, half asking the little creature.

The beetle waved its antennae, seemingly in response, and, after a moment, began digging a hole in the sand. That was it! Images quickly flashed across his mind as Ake felt a wave of recognition and the memory of the day Pemba had talked about the oasis came flooding back…..

……before he knew it, his minds-eye opened wide, Ake was back in the Grandmother Spider’s cave. They had gone to her shrine.

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With the spider’s help the night before, Ake had found the secret cave that housed her shrine. It had been the second evening of his grandfather’s funeral and he had been given his true name, as a part of his heritage. The other part of that precious gift was his grandfather’s divining bag. He could not resist opening it, and that was when it had all begun. But, he was sure that it was his grandfather’s doing that he was now on the path of initiation, following the Spider Mother’s path. She had led him to her shrine safely, but, the night had also revealed the great danger now threatening his people. Pemba had revealed the strange object to him that he and his grandfather had found on the edge of the desert and he recalled with a wince Pemba’s description of its owners, the People of the Dead. But, with his mentor close by, high up in the escarpment where the ancestors are buried, he had felt safe and protected from the storm that had raged over the land that night.

Sleep had taken him quickly and, at first light, he had awoken to find the Spider’s Cave still and calm. The storm had passed, erased with the dawning day, but, Pemba was nowhere to be seen. He had left a small pile of freshly picked fruit next to the fire’s simmering ashes. After splashing cool water from the gourd upon his face and hands, he had picked a couple of small green fruit from the pile and made his way to the cave entrance to greet the day.

A subtle mist was rising from the plains as the world emerged from its night journey. Above, in the growing light a pair of cranes flew out of the south and, high above the caves, sent a plaintive cry to the world below. An orange white shaft of light spilled over the horizon, the treetops below Ake’s perch at the cave entrance suddenly becoming adorned with a golden brilliance.

In those first few moments he had sat in awe of the beauty that flooded his senses, oblivious to the events of the previous night. This was the world he knew, comforting in its familiarity. As he heard the calling cranes and watched them fly overhead  the thought crossed Ake’s mind that he too would soon be travelling north. Pemba had told him that a meeting of the medicine people had been called at a hidden oasis, deep in the desert, and they were bound to go. The path of Ake’s initiation was inextricably interwoven with the journey. He felt his heart flutter briefly as the memories returned of his grandfather, the dreams that had called him to this place, and the unfathomably strange object that Pemba and Grandfather Ake had found….the day suddenly took on a different dimension, became an horizonless field of uncertainty and questions. The People of the Dead! Who were they, what were they, how had this all come to be – Ake struggled to confront the reality that was now challenging his world. The world he knew was itself being called into question……

“I can see that you are beginning to wake up…..”

The voice came from behind Ake, but, the familiar tones of his guardian and mentor quickly washed away the uneasy feeling that had begun to gnaw at his belly…..and Pemba’s words seemed to be asking for a response. But, Ake could find none, save a smile and outstretched arms as he turned to meet his old friend. A hug when troubled with doubts is always good medicine, but, Pemba could tell that his protege was also beginning to feel the veils of innocence fall away. It was always like this. Initiation was a never ending affair in this world.

Pemba sat beside his young ward and nodded in recognition of the task ahead……

dragonfly-blue“I took the path into the desert once, when I was, well, not much older than yourself, younger brother…..it was a journey that your grandfather and I had to make, as a part of our own initiation.” He looked off towards the glowing horizon. “There is a place in the heart of that vastness that is filled with birdsong….tall palms line a pool of fresh clear tourquoise water, so sweet and refreshing to taste, and dragonflies hover and dart like mischevious spirits at its heart. Who would believe such beauty could be found in the midst of the desert heat. Being there is like being under a delicious spell within a dream……”

Pemba’s words cast their own magic in Ake’s imagination and seemed to cleanse his heart of its burdens. He began to relax as the world below returned to his sight and added its own beauty to the vision Pemba was spinning.

“We must prepare before we set off to find that place……I’ve made an offering at the Spider’s shrine to open our path, but, you must do the same before we leave. Come….this too is a special place…..”, and Pemba smiled impishly as he rose, offering a hand to Ake…..that smile was infectious and, jumping to his feet, Ake followed his mentor towards the back of the cave and the crack in the rock.

He watched as Pemba picked up a half burned stub of cut wood from the fire-pit, and, briefly stirring the embers with its charcoaled end, let it rest a moment in the  glowing ash,  then, lifting it close to his mouth, he blew on it. The branch radiated a warm red and orange light and, with a second breath, a small dancing flame emerged from its tip. Pemba tilted the little torch and encouraged the flame to grow slightly. Satisfied with the result, the old diviner turned with a nod to follow and, holding the torch before him, eased into the fissure in the rock…..

“…..this will serve to light the short way to the other side Ake…..its quite easy, c’mon…”, Pemba’s voice echoed uncannily from within the rock.

Ake could see Pemba ahead of him in dark silhouette as he entered the crack. The rock was smooth at his sides, as if an age of watery hands had sculpted it, and the narrow floor of the fissure was softened with a sediment of silt and small stones…..

After following Pemba for a few seconds, his breath held and his heart beating in anticipation, Ake saw his mentors outline merge with the rock off to the right….yet he could still see the soft glow of the torch ahead. Hurrying to catch up he came to the point where the crack in the rock turned a sharp corner and then continued straight for a few steps. He saw Pemba disappear once more as the passage-way turned again, this time to the left. A cool breath of wind brushed Ake’s cheeks as he turned the second corner. The floor of the passage tilted sharply downwards and levelled out about ten steps ahead.

As he approached the bottom of the incline the back of Pemba’s legs became visible ahead, but, Ake had not anticipated what was to meet his eyes once he arrived at his mentor’s side! A ledge that ran off to the left and right formed the lip of an immense chasm echoing with his footfall as Ake came to its edge. A diffuse light radiated down from an invisible source in the roof of the vast chamber giving a soft luminescence to the rocks below. It took Ake’s breath away as he took in the sight. Every few moments a small droplet of water fell from the ceiling of the cave, each a luminous pearl free-falling in space. Ake then became aware of a gentle sussurus in the background. Somewhere, far beneath them, off in an unseen part of the mountain, an underground river was in full speight……

” …..the shrine is down there Ake….” Pemba whispered, taking a step closer to the edge of the ledge, gesturing with his chin for Ake to take a look. Ake tentatively peered into the chasms depths……but, before he could decide what exactly he was supposed to be seeing, by way of a shrine, Pemba turned to face him and, bringing his face closer, looked over Ake’s shoulder and quietly said, “the way down is behind you, along the ledge….let me go first”.

The rock-wall arched overhead and small stones tumbled off the ledge as they picked their way along, gradually descending – Ake caught sight of the twisted shapes of roots hanging from the ceiling of the cave, as if emerging from dark clouds…..then he realised! The whole ceiling was covered in spider’ s webs, waving in diaphanous films, like smoke hanging in night air. The atmosphere closed in and, all around them, Ake felt the presence of a thousand unseen eyes, watching their every move.

“You must be careful here…” Pemba said in hushed tones, turning to face Ake. He had his hand resting on one of the two cut ends of a massive forked branch that rested on the rim of the ledge and disappeared below. It was a ladder, like those that led to the drying and curing platforms in the village, each step a wedge deeply cut into the wood.  Pemba let the torch rest on the ground  and reached downwards with a foot, facing the rock-wall – he did not look at Ake, or pick up the torch, as his head slowly disappeared below the rim.

The branch held firm against the rock with its own weight and Ake tried to imagine that he was simply climbing down from a drying platform, returning to the ground below – but, he had not expected the ladder to be so long, and to begin flaring out as he descended. He wanted to look around, but, dare not stop……and then his feet touched solid rock.

Still holding the ladder with one hand he turned to find Pemba staring at him with hawk like eyes in the gathering darkness. Without a word or gesture, Pemba turned again and, following an invisible trail, confidently walked away, slowly descending into the half light. They had arrived at a shallow concave plateau that Ake quickly  realised was the top of a massive boulder…..hurrying after Pemba he found that there was a path that wound its way amongst a jumble of monolithic slabs of rock, some looking for all the world like the silhouettes of giant sleeping animals. As they descended deeper into the pit of the cave the rocks became smoother, more like river stones…..and Ake became aware of the sound of the underground torrent, rising like the voices and cries of an uncountable host – the memory of his grandfathers dream message, its vision of the ocean of souls flashed across his mind. He felt himself being drawn towards its shores…….

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Two strong hands grasped Ake’s shoulders and the obsidian light of two shining eyes peered with a penetrating intensity into his own. Pemba raised a finger to his lips, making a firm sign to remain absolutely quiet, slowly letting his finger fall away – the sight momentarily pulled Ake out of his vision. Pemba nodded briefly and, stepping to one side, gestured to Ake to go first.

Ahead, the pathway levelled out and then seemed to come to a halt against a wall of pitch darkness. This signalled another fissure, a cave entrance within the cave. He heard Pemba following as he slowly entered the subterranean night, his eyes scanning the darkness before him.

The hard rock beneath Ake’s feet gave way to soft fine sand and, stretching out his hands in front of him, he edged slowly forward. He began to make out very feint filaments of colour in the air ahead, but, was it a trick of the dark, a play of some inner vision that he could not put a shape or form to? He paused and strained with all his senses to find some clue as to how to go forward. A fast moving streak of green light cut across his field of vision and he suppressed a gasp as the memory flashed across his mind of the spider’s luminous thread from the previous night. Then all was still.

It was at that moment that Ake realised that he was not only standing in the midst of impenetrable darkness, but, it had become totally silent. The seering doubt of his confusion span him instinctively on his heels, and then he did gasp. He did not see the way back to the chasm as  he had expected he would, instead, there was no light, anywhere. For a moment it was as if every external sense of the world, save the feeling of sand beneath his feet, had become extinguished and Ake, his head spinning with disorientation, slumped onto to the soft sand in a faint.

In the moment that he came round, Ake wondered if he was indeed awake. He blinked but there was no change to the darkness. He reached out with his hand to prop himself up, but, instead of finding sand beneath his palm he briefly layed his hand on something soft….his hand recoiled. Then he recognised the feeling that his fingers had registered…it was the divining bag. He had forgotten all about it…..but, how had it gotten here. Pemba. It must have been put there earlier by Pemba…..

He reached for the bag and, sitting up, drew it to his chest and let the comforting feeling of its familiarity fold around his heart.

“See……”

The voice came like a finely settling rain of dust upon his ears…….

“See…..my little one……”

The rush of doubt that Ake felt on hearing the voice slowly gave way to a rising fire of recognition in his belly…….he knew that voice.

“It has been so long, beautiful child…..my Chenge…..see……”

Ake suddenly felt his throat constrict and he sucked in a breath, holding it as the memory rose  upon a tide of emotion…….

“Mama…..?!”

A soft shuffling, just a few feet away to his side, pulled his head around……but he could see nothing.

“See…….”

“Mama….is that you….I cant see you…..”

“I am safe little one…….”

Ake hardly dared move, but, this time the voice was infront of him, and closer. The green luminous thread re-emerged before his eyes and began turning about itself, making circles and spirals that left vapour trails of cold mist in the pitch darkness. Slowly they wove a shape in the air and became an oval of softly shimmering light.

Eyes appeared, a nose and mouth, rounded cheeks, forming a face…..and then Ake knew. He was gazing in total disbelief at the face of his mother!

“I have a message for you, my little one……”

Ake was transfixed. He would so have loved to run into his mothers arms, but, there was…..only her face before him.

“Mama…….mama, what has happened…..is it really you?!”

“Listen to the Spider Mother, Chenge…..she is helping you…….I am far away, but…..we will meet again…..follow her thread, little one……”

“We will meet again, Mama? But, when….where are you……what has happened to you?”

“Look for the tall one, the white one, he bears a sign……follow the thread, little one…..”

At the mention of the ‘white one’ Ake’s heart recoiled and a feeling he had never felt before welled up in his belly. It asked him to do something, anything, to bring his mother back.

“The white one mama? Surely you don’t mean one of the people of the dead…..!”

“He bears a sign…..you will know it……follow, little one…..my Chenge….”

And with this the face began to dissolve before Ake’s eyes.

“Mama….don’t go……mama!”

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Ake heard his voice echo softly as the face slipped away into darkness. He began to weep and clutched the diviner’s bag as if it were the last memory of a world he had once known. Another soft shuffling sound broke across his grief  and, suddenly realising that he could once more hear the sound of the rushing river, he jumped to his feet. But, the darkness remained.

The flash of green light cut swiftly across his eyes and left a single thread of mist suspended in the air. A thin crack of brilliant white emerged from the mist and grew into a vertical fissure in the pitch darkness that surrounded him. The crack widened and Ake could see a movement in its midst…..a figure was walking towards him. He recognised the shoulders and face of his mentor, Pemba.

“This place is the Spider’s shrine, younger brother……Ake?”

Ake was unsure of what he was seeing, he did not know whether to trust his senses.

“Ake?….what have you seen.”

The concern in Pemba’s voice was strangely reassuring and Ake felt his shoulders relax a little, the weight of the diviners bag now helping the world to solidify about him.

Pemba stopped a few steps away and cocked his head, staring at the bag……

“Well……” he seemed lost for words as he stepped closer, raising his hand to point at the diviner’s bag clutched to Ake’s chest.

“The day is full of surprises……this is most unusual….but, a good sign…..heh”

Pemba looked at Ake’s face with a soft concern. Laying his hands on Ake’s shoulders he said, “Come, tell me what happened…..we have an offering to make, but, you look as though…..”

“It was Mama, Pemba….she was here, I saw her and….she spoke to me”

“Spoke to you?!” The surprise in Pembas voice could not be disguised. The old diviner considered a moment and then, reaching behind his back for the drinking gourd he was carrying, he led Ake by the arm to the side of the cave. Ake realised that  he could see the interior of the subterranean chamber quite clearly now. They were in a small oval cavity that reminded Ake of the adobe huts in which the families of his village lived. The walls were smooth and appeared to have a coating of fine clay. The back of the chamber was feintly illuminated from its entrance, but, surprisingly, Ake could see that the underground room was entirely empty.

As they rested their backs against the wall, Pemba caught the look of confusion on Ake’s face.

“I will explain…..all in good time, but….what did your mother tell you, younger brother, tell me what you want to”

Ake related everything that had happened from the moment that he had set foot into the darkness and, as his mentor listened, Pemba gave a nod at everything he heard. When Ake had come to the end of his account they sat in silence for a moment and then, offering the gourd to his young ward, Pemba let out a sigh…..

“It seems the Spider Mother has given to you a gift, brother Ake, and a gift of no small importance – I will tell you just why I am saying this after we have made the offering, if you can wait…..” and, at this Pemba rose to his feet.

A tender smile greeted Ake’s eyes as he looked up.

“….and, we must make it a special gift in return for her kindness, eh?”

Ake was surpised in the next moment to see Pemba scooping handfulls of sand to the side from the floor of the subterranian room – he was close to its center and the sand was dry, sliding slowly back in on itself. But, soon, Pemba’s hand scraped against a solid surface. He brushed the sand aside to reveal a large round circle of stone with a wedge shaped notch cut out of its edge. Pemba carefully placed his hand into the gap and with a strong pull lifted the stone away, flipping it onto its back, revealing a smaller perfectly round hole beneath……

“Bring the divining bag over Ake” he said, as he brushed the sand clean from the edge of the hole. “Now…..see what comes out” he said gesturing with his chin towards the bag…..

“…..go on, don’t be afraid…..theres something in there we need”.

Ake unwound the strap from the neck of the bag and cautiously put his hand inside. The feeling of soft fur met Ake’s fingers and, feeling his way down the sides, he  found several smaller leather bags nestled together. He looked to Pemba……

“Yes….thats it….”

Gripping the neck of one of the small bags he slowly eased it out…..it was no bigger than his fist and dyed a very dark blue that reminded Ake of the night sky.

“Ahhh…..now open it”, said Pemba, obviously intrigued at the choice.

The binding was old, but, once Ake had eased it away, a sharp odour emerged instantly from the bag, making Ake’s nose twitch.

“Take one pinch” Pemba instructed, watching carefully as his protege reached in with his thumb and fore-fingers. He pulled out a small quantity of pitch black powder, just like charcoal dust, but, very slightly oily to the touch.

The core of the Milky Way at a distance of some 26,000 light years from Earth.

“This is ‘black snuff’, though amongst the Spider people it is known as ‘night medicine’. It is one of the most valuable healing preparations we make, amongst the diviners, that is. It is for use only by those who have knowledge of its effects. Without that knowledge it is simply charcoal, to the unknowing. It seems I’ll be teaching you how to make it very soon,” Pemba said with an approving nod. Ake tried to look more closely, without dropping any of the powder.

“Is this what I am to give to the Spider mother, Pemba?”

“Well, it looks like you are being called upon to make this medicine a sign of gratitude to her, yes, but…..it needs a special song to accompany it……”

Ake looked questioningly at his mentor…….but, Pemba simply raised his eyebrows, smiling with a little nod…..

“But, which song should I sing…..?”

“Think of where we are going….and what has just happened here….then let it come out, sing it……and, remember, say thank-you to the Grandmother Spider”

Ake liked to sing, it came naturally to him, especially when he was busy with something that took time….but, he had never tried to make a song out of things that had not happened yet, or feelings as strong and deep as those that the memory of his mother had brought up in him. Then, without warning, as he was pondering these things, a single syllable of sound escaped his lips…..and before he knew it a melody was springing up in him. It seemed to accompany the images that drifted through his mind.

“Sing it into the ‘night medicine’ Ake, then give the medicine to the hole….but, keep singing until the song has run its course.”

The melody arose with a slow dignity from Ake and into the ‘night medicine’. He felt its power gently flowing through him at first, then he began swaying his body from side to side. For a moment it was as if he was sitting in the middle of a small boat on a rolling expanse of water. Stars appeared above him following the motion of the boat. He closed his eyes and let the melody pour into the night medicine. He felt his hand release the black powder into the darkness at his feet…..the song grew stronger.

A gust of wind swept strands of hair around his cheek and he opened his eyes……the stars above remained, swirling around a tall stout pole that extended above him. There was a triangular sheet of ochre skins attached to its top and bottom and Ake quickly realised he was speeding over the water in a hide covered boat, like the ones he had seen in the Lake People’s village.

“You must listen to the stars, let them give their stories to you, brother Ake,” a powerful voice sounded behind him.

Ake spun round to find his grandfather sitting at the stern, his strong old hands holding the end of a steering paddle, his eyes staring towards the heavens….for a moment Ake was speechless.

“….they will take you beyond the horizon and return you safely home.”

“Grandfather!”

“Look!” And the old man pointed over Ake’s shoulder, his eyes widening.

Ake glanced involuntarily in the direction his grandfather had pointed. In that instant a single star suddenly expanded and sent out a blinding flash that stunned Ake. For a moment he could see nothing but white light. Then shapes slowly began to emerge, blurred and vague at first, and there was a tickling feeling on his cheek.

Ake shook his head and caught site of the small green iridescent beetle just as it disappeared beneath the sand. There was a sound like many voices speaking very fast, as if heard from a long way off……then the dragonfly darted over his head and stopped in mid-air just an arms length in front of Ake.

He had been lying on the cool sand, but, for how long! Where the beetle had been there was now a small conical mound of sand. It must have been only an eyeblink, yet, he felt as though it were an eternity. The dragonfly turned on its centre and a second later sped off down the valley between the dunes.

“I’m not loosing sight of you this time,” Ake said under his breath and, jumping to his feet, he slung Pemba’s blanket and the diviner’s bag over his shoulder and set off after the iridescent blue being………he did not see the swift shadow that darted away across the sand ahead of him……..

aqua-libra

 

Chenge and the Spider © copyright Rob Purday 2013
The Beetle and the Dragonfly © copyright Rob Purday 2013

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Look out for the continuing story of Chenge and the Spider at a new dedicated website launching soon!

Welcoming 2014 – Year of the Yang Wood Horse

 

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Hey Dear friends and readers @ Owlmirror, thank you for your patience and for keeping the embers glowing here – its good to be back after taking a longer than anticipated sabbatical from the www and to pick up the beat by welcoming the new date on the calendar, 2014. This is a year that promises much energy and empowerment to all freedom loving spirits! With this being the year of the Yang Wood Horse we can look forward to a time of powerful initiatives, of those freedom loving souls who are here to defend nature and make a real difference coming to the fore and making a bigger impact upon the world stage. And, with strong spirits in mind, this will also be a year of opportunity to bring four square solid devotion to the Earth loving wild nature that pulses through all life and into the central hearth of all our lives – the image of the wild horse is a powerful talisman for our journey ahead! S0, thank you to all friends of Owlmirror for visiting, for following here, and for all your comments and ‘likes’ – its your presence and involvement that really makes it, and, we have much to look forward to………

Owlmirror is happy to announce that we now have a facebook page too – the link will be going in the side bar and header but you can go directly to the page here (you will need to sign in to fb first off course) – the fb page gives greater freedom to post more regular links and articles, including one-off items, special opportunities and offers, especially for artwork, readings and medicine work. You will find links there to every new article posted here and at our sister site Living Astrology, all of which have the particular Owlmirror focus and flavour, and, its a community page, so, if you would like to join the conversation and get more of Owlmirror please drop in, ‘follow’ and ‘like’ us – it’ll be great to see you there and help the community grow!

The Living Astrology site has been renamed and revamped with a new format – previously the site ran under the title ‘Root Medicine of the Stars’, but, continuing the theme of Earth based spirituality within astrological practice the new name reflects more clearly the practical heart that this divination path infuses into life. Posts at Living Astrology include astro-divinations of the current and significant upcoming celestial alignments and events, as well as bringing key videos and news of developments within the astrology world to regular readers and followers…….the recent article ‘Stargate to a Revolution’ broke all previous viewing records and more people are now following Living Astrology since its re-launch. The latest article ‘A Most Mysterious Time’ looks into the first lunation of 2014 – so, thanks to everyone who has visited,  ‘liked’ and commented on articles there and is following the new site!

Keeping up Owlmirror’s tradition of a more left field and in-depth exploration of path-making themes in our times the next article up here will be focusing on the current Venus retrograde period, its significance in the flow of current events as well as the unique opportunity it brings to connect with a deeper indigenous perspective. There is a pulse at work through this retrograde period that belongs to Venus’ 251 year cycle. This is a truly rare moment that embodies complete synchronicity with the solar seasonal cycle and with it opens a gateway for engaging with the bigger picture, an event that will not happen again for many generations. Venus stationed and went retrograde at the December solstice, and soon, her station and following direct motion in the heavens at Imbolc will signify a turning point we should not and, in reality, cannot afford to miss! The veils are falling from the Goddess as She journeys to the deepest levels of the underworld. Just as the ancients knew Venus’ significance to the earthbound inauguration of and most auspicious synchrony between ceremonies, the celestial realms and sacred sites, we too can gain the benefit of the message She delivers through the exquisite timing, symbolism and grace of Venus’ celestial dance. We look forward to a time of powerful harmony, all the more auspicious as Her dance augers a brilliant start to the Chinese New Year – Venus goes direct exactly as the year of the Yang Wood Horse opens!

So…….Much Gratitude, the Peace of a strong loving heart and the creative unrest and beauty of the wild natural spirit be with you through this year!

Blessed BeCastlerigg_stone_circle[1]

Unmasking Uranus – The Trial in the Court of the Jester King

blackbearIn unmasking Uranus the numinous power of Fire is released, once more. It is a central motif in a drama that is already unfolding in our time, the duel process of the unbinding of Prometheus and the consequent holding to account of his first profound act of endowing humanity with fire – in following ‘due course’ we too will be and are being held to account. It is also an act that invokes the revelation of the subtle strategies at work in the cosmos, that correspond to the coersive impulse of the archetypal, the realm of the ‘gods’, as well as the hidden agendas of the human realm. It also reveals our understanding of who we are and what we have become. We are ‘in’ the revelation zone. Yet, in Uranus as archetype the impulse is a force which follows, or at least appears to follow, the course of an unfound logic, an elemental power, like lightning, that is unexpected, instantaneous and has equally unanticipated consequences, or at least we might like to excuse ourselves in thinking so. While these qualities are in themselves anathematic to the ‘seemingly’ monumental conservatism that binds the archetypes to their motives and motivating influence there is a growing and predominant feeling in the world that we have reached the zenith of our own culpability, the nadir of our responsibility, as a reflection of our misuse of the archetypal fire. And this itself lays open Uranus workings on and in the archetypal realms. We do well to heed Hermetic wisdom. The revolution in the heavens is upon us.

And so it was with the birth into consciousness of the planet Uranus, the first to be ‘discovered’ (in 1781 by the astronomer Herschel) beyond the orbit of Saturn, and thus the upsetter of the hitherto self contained vision of a planetary cosmos, the ‘solar’ system, circumscribed by Saturn’s orbit. Beyond this was the unknown, or as yet unapprehended, and Uranus advent was an augery, a signal of that doorway into the unconscious being opened, a pathological warning that went largely unheeded, at least until the planet Neptune came into the frame. This oversight is significant in what came after, for, even though the existance of both the planets Neptune (1846) and Pluto (1930) was unknown to us at the time of Uranus naming, the unconscious influence of their archetypes had a deep bearing on how we reacted to possession of the Promethian fire that Uranus discovery delivered into our hands. This factor is also key in unfolding an understanding, from an astrological perspective, of the unconscious element in Uranus presence amongst us. But, at this point, the prologue is incomplete – the drama cannot be entered into without bringing more props and scenery onto the stage.

Uranus opened the way between the inner and the outer planets, and between the solar system and the starry cosmos, the celestial fundament of stellar space. That realm is symbolised in Uranus association with the Greek god Ouranos, representing the heavens. But, this is where the symbological association ends….Ouranus was an arch conservative within the pantheon of Greek creation myths, and Uranus, in astrological practice and experience, is the antithesis of that archetypal characteristic. So, how is it that the archetype persists in name but not in function and effect? It is time to unmask Uranus and in doing so once more ignite the Promethian Fire……as a torch and illuminator of our way ahead, an act of redemption. But will it be Uranus or ourselves who will be redeemed? We shall see…..

….ahh, Prometheus! The stealer of divine power in the form of Fire. Promethian cunning is kin to astrological Uranus, and with it he thwarted the gods, and we all know the consequences he suffered…..how much does this reflect the error of our own ways, their consequences in our times, at least those belonging to the western paradigm. In unmasking Uranus we also unmask those errors, and, in all their destructive elements, the stigma attached to playing with fire, the impact upon our world of a zealous and unbounded desire to wield the power of the gods, in the world. We expose our own naivety, our childish lack of fore-thought and understanding. Uranus, and Prometheus both, invited us to step beyond the Saturnian threshold, and we did so blindly, inflated with the incendiary power of the archetype, and through this, so, in standing trial, we too become unmasked, are held to account and, in the process, expose  the innate dangers of assuming archetypal forces to be our own to play with. In light of this notion, it is perhaps no coincidence  that Uranus discovery came amidst the rise of the ‘science paradigm’, of scientific materialism and heralded the advent of its adjunct, the industrial revolution. There are many obvious reasons why we should seek to expose ourselves to what lies behind that mask at this time, and, not least of all as Uranus is so prominently figured in the current astrology.

lightning-eruption copyWe are in the midst of the Uranus Pluto square, the aspect that almost certainly carries the signature of our times. Uranus in initiatic Aries and Pluto in power-house Capricorn. Seven times the square is formed and, over a period of…..years, presents us with the opportunity to experience first hand the archetypes at work through these two planets and their presence, both as influences upon and mirrors of what lies behind our own subtle, and not so subtle, strategems in the world. No two planets could be more suited to the task of upsetting the paradigmatic applecart than Uranus and Pluto, especially when in the square aspect where their combination is one of provocation and striving for relationship, rather than the harmonious co-operation we might expect of the softer aspects, the trine and sextile. So, the stage is set for the first part of the hearing, and while it may be the gods that are called to account, it is hubris that is the charge and crime – in this it is humanity that is the culpable and, possibly, only prime suspect. But, are we really culpable, or have we been duped to the highest degree? In unmasking Uranus, we will find, we must enter the realms of the arch-trickster, King Jester…..Look Out!

If there is a powerful current of revolutionary energy at work with electrifying impact in the world in our times it is, in one aspect, manifest in the exposure of Rulers, tyrants, power mongers and dictators, hidden and overt. We are seeing mass protest manifest against the usury and manipulation that they have visited and are visiting upon us, and this is building – we instinctively know that this is the case, but, the evidence is becoming rife. The material fabric of western culture is shot through with the symptoms of this usury and the world is being destroyed. Science has become infiltrated to an immense degree by the machinations of the power crazy and the self-serving. And yet, as individuals we are held to be accountable, through our lifestyles, our mindless consumerism and apparent powerlessness in the face of that great god of the scientific materialists, Progress. ‘Apparent’ though – the cracks in the armour of scientific ‘necessity’ and its saturating permeation of our lives are letting in the light of realisation and this too is motivating the uprising. This is the Uranian fire at work and Pluto, also allied in this, is breaking down the barriers, the structures that support and conceal the powers within. This too is reflected in our current scientific revolution, its fierce pace no less a threat to our world than its benefits are an astonishingly mesmerising gift. We can detect the veiled but pervasive work of Neptune’s dark side in that hypnotic influence. Yet, many are calling it an awakening, and rightly so – Uranus is also the awakener – but, many are also becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of Promethius gift to humanity.

In that awakening, in the light of the fire that was handed to us on Uranus discovery, is reflected our ability to change the world, radically. Following the Promethian hand-over, this has taken on monumental proportions. Archetypes inflate when they are taken in, when we attempt to hold them in our grasp. They carry the twin charge of inescapable necessity and compulsive force, Ananke and Bia in the divine cosmology. They grow in our psyche through their active presence and, as a result, we begin to lose sight of ourselves under such powerful numinous influences. Our pathological reaction is instinctive and motivates correspondingly innate and primarily archetypal valencies within ourselves. We act out and in the process unleash the archetypal power through ourselves into the world, or….we act-in, and become narcissistically involved with their in-dwelling and psychic charge. Much that we enact as a result is infused with unconscious qualities – the archetype, where it is confined to the instinctive, remains unintegrated, its function and effect undisclosed, its influence neurotic. This could be a description of the  effects of the Uranian explosion that accompanied its discovery, that set scientific innovation on fire. We knew not what we did.

croneAs a brief aside that was both shocking and illuminating to hear, I remember an indigenous elder describing how his grandparents world was ripped assunder by the influx of iron goods and electricity, of how these were both seen to be what they are, the products of a power base, and basis, alien to the indigenous world, and yet, it promised benefits, was also desirable! They wanted the electric light and iron cooking pot, he confessed. More recently a comment was made to me that if the ancestors had had Dremels (electrically powered crafting tools) they too would have used them to craft their talismans and everyday utensils. But, and this is a big ‘but’ and key point at this stage in the trial, they did not have the power to drive the Dremel. Although there is growing evidence to show that the ancients were well conversant with the power of the electric universe, in this court it must be noted that it is western scientific industrialism that sought to harness that power, that is carrying the burden of responsibility. And our reaction was no different to those indigenous great grandparents……but, how much of a choice did we have? Was it the hubris of the common woman and man that was at work in harnessing that power? Were we innocently led, like lambs to the slaughter, into the abattoir of technological progress?

Much power is a dangerous thing….in the wrong hands. Another indigenous elder recounted how, on being shown photographs of sky-scrapers (think about that word), his elders instant reaction was that whoever was responsible for them had a serious problem with ‘power’. Too true….as the elders revealed the indigenous world is not naive in the face of power, especially those powers that are what we in the West call ‘super-natural’. Such powers, if accessible to the individual, are integrated into the indigenous world while remaining hidden, and that hiddeness is the responsibility of the person who has access to them to maintain. There is deep wisdom in this. We have done the opposite in the West. And the Promethian fire is not simply an incendiary, it too is supernatural, originates with the gods.

Yet science will not have it. The ‘supernatural’ is fantasy. This is changing – innovative scientists, such as Rupert Sheldrake for example, are challenging the ‘scienctific paradigm of the establishment’, revealing the fantasies upon which it has built its fortress….and, there are many others hard at work on this deconstruction process while embracing the, in fact, through embracing the ‘paranormal’, supernatural and spiritual weave of the scientific fabric. Our understanding of the world we live in is changing with it. Monsanto has fulfilled Mary Shelly’s prophetic vision of Frankestein’s monster – but, this is where we are beginning to differentiate between those responsible and the rest. Pluto’s alchemy cuts both ways…..and it too has archetypal relentlessness.

But, Pluto’s is the archetype that takes us to the very depths and changes everything from the bottom up – Uranus does the opposite, bringing divine interventions and revolutionary inspiration to bear from the top down. Where they meet is in their revolutionary impact. We are caught in their midst, polarised and struggling to maintain balance – we have no choice. Yet, we have some…..

If there be a preliminary summing up to be had at this stage in the courts proceedings we need to weigh our choices. Our souls may very well be in that balance.

In doing so, lets remind ourselves of that indigenous wisdom, that brings consciousness and resposibility to the ‘possession’ of power, both in being possessed by such and having access to it. If Pluto is the alchemist, Uranus is the magician. If Pluto has the earthly power structures in the crucible, Uranus is throwing light upon the process. They both wield fire. And, we are compelled, in our current circumstances, to use this power wisely. Uranian insights are essential. We are culpable now to the extent that we make use of them, or, more correctly, in how we make use of them, for the former will, if the latter is heeded, become balanced – this much instinct tells us. We have a wise animal knowing within each of us that is not only our ally in this, but, is a primal gift of the ancestors. That knowing connects us to our roots, passing through both Uranus and Pluto’s realms to meet us, and offering us a root of knowledge that has been all but erased from our human world, but persists. That we have such within reach is crucial – this isn’t to say that instinct will save the day – we need far more conscious articulation of our knowledge and wisdom. And we can find it.

shamanmaskIn Uranus we also find the higher levels of consciousness, you could say, which to us in a sense, are also the instincts of the divine, of the gods. And it is this that is the missing element, the unapprehended attribute of the sacred fire that we bypassed on our way to the fire-pit and furnace. It is also Pluto’s gift that we are able to put this higher knowing to use now, not only in bringing down Frankenstein’s castle, and this can be a metaphor for all the hiding places of monstrous misuse of power, but, coming to understand the cthonic powers and what they are in relation to us. Pluto is also the dark aspect of the Great Mother, her crone wisdom, an unusually compelling image when we consider the changes that are at work now in the world. In their combination Pluto and Uranus bring the volcanic and the electric together, Magma and Lightning….the scalar union of power in the plasmic universe. On the ground we are standing on the rim of the culdera, the firey precipice. We do not need to get any closer to read the signs.

We must awaken from our reveries and realise that we are in the court of the Jester King. The hearing is underway and if, while daydreaming in the fire, we have missed the vital evidence….well, we will surely subvert the choices we have in the process of a just verdict being reached…..but, for this to happen we must ask ‘how did we get here’,and, who is this Jester King? The answer to both is in unmasking ourselves, for it is we who have been wearing Uranus mask. We have invoked the spirit uninitiated. If we can do so we may well find that the mask changes, that this is our initiation, and that it becomes the shamans mask, that helps us in dancing with the spirits, that is their gift, and that connects us with the power to heal, the powers that heal. What in us unites the lower worlds and the upper is the question……and here the elders, the indigenous people of  wisdom and the shamans are our best guides – our very nature is at stake in finding the answer.

Next up in the dock at Owlmirror, in the second part of this ‘Trial in the Court of the Jester King’, will be Neptune…….!

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I want to apologise to readers here for the adverts that may appear below this and other articles at Owlmirror….this will be rectified soon…….

Dancing in the Dark

“They used to say in days of old, the Magpie was a sacred bird,

beloved of the goddess, heeded by all travellers-oh…..

one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy……

…..five for silver, six for gold…..seven for a secret never to be told

the Sun was jealous of her love, and stole Her children from Her nest,

She searches for them to this day, the seeds of star-light from her heart

one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy….

five for silver, six for gold…..seven for a secret never to be told

and, to all but those who honour Her, who wear her colours and and follow her call,

her mysteries will hidden be…………Magpie, keeper of the Magic-Fire.

one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy……

…..five for silver, six for gold…..seven for a secret never to be told

The old woman had turned up unexpectedly, out of the blue, as if she had materialised from the boundaries of day and night itself, and had walked across the edge of dusk unseen to sit at our fire…….she was travel weary, you could tell, but, there was a certain vigour about her, an energy with a strong quiet presence – little did we suspect its source or the gifts she was carrying as she was offered a place and settled herself, gathering her long cape and robes about her…….we all looked to her expectantly, and she, as if gathering us in slowly round the circle, her face a map of weathered journeys, and stories waiting to unfold……

Her eyes – I will not forget those eyes, mysterious pools of tender wisdom, fathomless worlds, thresholds of sky and ocean, and the strange sensation that, as she beheld us we were each being touched by an invisible force, a mystery enfolding itself around us.

“Let me rest here a while and in return I will tell you a story…….”, she had said, brushing the dust of the road from her robes and folding them about her. There was a promise in this, and a balm that eased our surprise at her appearance in our midst, and, instantly you knew – here was the voice of experience, of an elder. She knew how to play this situation, was an old hand with this opening gambit. We are all hungry for the warmth and companionship provided by the sweet medicine of the fire, but, it is also ever the way with humans that we are reluctant to invite the unknown into our midst. So, an exchange of gifts is often the sweetener that encourages us to drop our boundaries, when the fire is ours to give and the unknown comes knocking….but, stories, they are things of power.

If we had known the nature of the story about to be given would we still have opened our circle to its medicines? As the old woman went on to say of the gift she had to offer, once she had found her spot and began unfolding the story-tellers bundle in her lap, “……..it will bring flavour to some and be as salt to the wounds of others, for, on this night will open a portal, a rift in time, a threshold into deeper wisdom, the Ocean Mother’s wisdom….”

…and here she paused, pulling us further in…..the portentious scent of fate and destiny twisting about her as she whispered to the night….

“…….yes, womb-wisdom, crone wisdom; listen, then…..listen with your bones…..from here, within the temple of your heart,” she said, placing the flats of her hands upon her chest and spreading them outwards in a wide all-embracing gesture.

That night, as the calendar makers and star watchers had foretold, the Moon fell into darkening, and, as Her light bled into the night, the ocean hushed as the story-teller invoked the spirit of  the moment….beneath the canopy of stars above the southern ocean…….

“Listen to an old woman’s news – it comes from far distant lands, but, heed this message well, for its edge is close at hand………when earthen shadow falls, and the lunar mother removes her mask……we remember her true face once more; her face, so sanguine, as if lit by embers from within….yes, we remember – we remember…….when the moon-light becomes the womb-light…..how  it was, before we put up our masks, after our masks fall,”

….her words spun strange and familiar worlds behind our eyes, and her face, like the night, steeped in thought, radiated with the light of another world…..

“It comes around and goes around, this merry dance. It beats its slow steady heart beat to a rhythm ancient with memory, opening the shell of time, the second wound, the wound that receives the golden seed, bleeding fire into the night. Herstory is the history of wounds – She pulses, enchants with luminous dust, and pulls, and pulls, and pulls…She feels, and She heals.” She stooped to scoop a handfull of sand and we watched the grains fall slowly through her fingers, leaving a small shell, a spiral wonder of sacred energy nestling in her palm.

The elders and day-keepers had caught her meaning and sent the whisper around the circle – she was a Moon Mother, an Aluna, holy woman of the Moon, midwife of the mysteries – she had come to give warning of the eclipse, we should listen carefully to her teaching, there may be an initiation afoot, something unforeseen in the darkening of the Moon…….

The Moon Mother let the hum of words that were rippling round the circle settle and, holding the shell between thumb and fore-finger, raised it towards the center of the circle. “There is one present here who carries the mark of this day…..”. She paused and cast her shining eyes around the circle……no-one stirred. “All in good time, all in good time…..you will know who you are before the nights out, and, then……” she offered the shell in outstretched hand…..”this mystery, and all contained within it, shall be yours to hold for this village……this night, She will come amongst us”. A murmur, touched with nervousness, excitement and fore-boding, swept through the circle.

“But, do not be in any hurry to fix meaning to my words…….I give them to you by way of protection, of which I pray you shall need none, but, there is more than one shadow loosed in the world this night…..may the power of the Great Mother be with us……” – her voice dropped off as she delivered the warning, a loud crack and stream of sparks exploding from the fire as she slowly got to her feet.

The old woman stepped into the firelight, her voice returning stronger now…..”Remember her and remember her well. She who wears the three-fold masks, the fertile-scented Flower of Dawn, the swollen-bellied Fruit of Night, the wise-horned Eye of Dusk, shedding and renewing, as skins and veils, as spiralling patterns in the serpentine dance…..She moves, and She moves us.” At that moment, as if summoned, the wind blows the shell from her hand, and a far distant bird calls, cackling laughter carried on the billowing air……..she raised her chin to the horizon and sniffed at the wind as it swirled away, carrying the smells and textures of the forest. We all smelt it, that fresh breath of life and its undertone, the rich hummus of life-giving death, the balance giver. “Pine and Birch,” she said, “the grandmothers and maiden warriors of the deep lands of memory – those forests remember you, you know……..and they have their own memories, ancestors of your own, waiting for you to return, to meet with you once more in your journeys and dreams…..earthen shadows, spectral lights, liminal flames, dancing in the dark, tricky, and…..” her voice now filled with a ripple of dark humour…..”ripe for the picking……”

I notice a few nervous glances passing around the circle – what is this, does anyone understand the meaning of her words? She bows down as if looking directly into the earth and half whispers….

“Remember, She moves us, not onwards, but, inwards and……with every turning, reveals the gateways, thresholds of wonders, guarding the grove of mysteries,  woven into concealment……you will meet her first within the serpentine folds of Wysteria, the flower of the ‘womens’ mysteries’….glancing up and casting her gaze around the circle of fire-lit faces, her gaze comes to rest on a young boy, himself at the threshold of adulthood……”of this, men’s knowing shall know nothing……..save his own luminous shadow, dancing in search of himself, his beloved.” A murmur of wry laughter runs amongst the elders present and sets heads wagging and nodding. She has us in the palm of her hand…….

“…how many of you know,” she continues, her gaze still circling on the gathering, “what lies across the threshold of her inner sanctuary……”. It is a direct challenge, no doubt, but, the wiley old crone knows that for those who do know this is and can only be a rhetorical question – this wise old bird is fishing for a different kind of response……”She initiates all who would be re-united within themselves…….from within Her hidden recess, holiest of holies, with every darkening Moon she beats Her signal and calls – ‘have you the mettle’, she asks…….

I had not suspected this night would bring to my own life such a question, such a calling, yet there it was…..and the bone-wise  midwife in our midst caught my eye as she said……”wearing her true face, She opens Her oracular eye and sees into the deepest realms of our hearts…..”. She winks at me and then, closing her eyes spreads wide her arms, holding a white skinned frame drum before her, beating a steady heartbeat…..

Suddenly the night feels chill with expectation and a loud crack explodes from the fire – “How would we know her, but, to join the dance…..come to her and remember…….remember, at her bidding, why we came here……and dance…..who we were before we came…..” – the drumbeat has an enticing quality, her voice riding its beats, becoming a chant…..

“…….She is the chanting storyteller of our lives before we lived them…..she rides the Spirit Horse of our Earth’s dreaming back to the beginning……..spiralling around itself upon the axis of the stars…….rising on the swollen tide we journey with Her through the crack in time.” Her chants create waves upon waves…..cross-patterns out of which our very soul stuff rises at the beats. “She weaves the pulse into this world as we are born forgetful of her song……She weaves her song into our soul that we may remember why we came here…….until…….” and she whorls around, sending the tassels from her long cloak and skirts flying in a wave around her…….it is as a signal, and now we are all on our feet….

“…Her call is heeded…..spirit walkers, kith and kindred, Sons and Daughters of Silver and Gold, red-white-black words, songs of memory and possibility, threading soul paths through these worlds…..follow her, follow her…” and now our feet have become infected with her rhythm, our backs twitching and hips swaying, hands rising in gestures on her delicious beat….

“….in another time, another time……once upon a time that is no-time…..time before time….” something is happening, the light of the fire is growing, its flames are expanding and I see figures in their midst, wearing robes of flashing feathers, blue and black and white and green, iridescent with night’s magic…….”She comes, She of many faces, with Her dark green cackling laughter and flashing wings….falling and rising above the churning ocean.” At this point I do not remember if she spoke these words or if it was the voice of the one she had called into our midst, who spoke of the time before time, the beginning, of memory and possibility, who spoke of Aluna…..

…….how long we danced I cannot say, only to say that we found ourselves close in on the fire, or the fire seemed to have grown…..we had entered another space and time and, in that place, the voice pulled me further in…..

“…..She weaves her pathway across the southern seas this night – her flashing wings, her iridescent tail, her coat of tricks….hear this and remember”…..the flames part and the old woman steps into the embers, gesturing me to follow…….as I step upon the radiant bed of dancing liquid light the sparks fly up around me and suddenly I am spinning amongst stars…….her voice leads me on……

I remember one other thing from that journey – I returned momentarily to hear a great roar of thunder issue from her drum, and tailing slowly away, bringing the circle back, ecstatic and breathing hard, slowly to a standstill…….and as the drum wound down I heard her say these words……”know this,” she  whispered between her teeth, hoarse and urgent, “Silent Thunder is coming but Her heart beats yet and with the one who follows me will reverberate still…..look for her coming, from beyond the clashing rocks…….when Sun rises and she returns in those stars the world will see its fruit on solstice eve…..on solstice eve, another world will remember this one…..but, in this one she has her gaurdians still, who sing her praises still……” – little did I know that night, that I would be the one to return……

I awoke amongst spiralling branches bedecked with lilac coloured blossoms, the old woman tending a small fire in a stone hearth nearby – a star specked sky was visible through the bower and a feint streak of luminous green and turquoise light was bleeding into the horizon beyond the medicine woman. Long whisps of her hair  hung loose from its braids and, without turning, she spoke to me…….

“All the eclipses in the world would not unravel the knots we have become entangled in, knots in time, that breed forgetting……….were it not for the persistance of Her memories…….even when we recognise them not for what they are, even when they hide the truth in plain sight…..but, welcome my daughter, for we have them still, right now, where you are……” and she turned to greet me with a smile of total love that put a feeling in me as if the Sun had just arisen and kissed the full Moon in my heart……that was the beginning of my apprenticeship with Aluna, Magpie Woman as she told me she was known, medicine woman of the Earth and Stars, keeper of the sacred flame of Sweet Medicine………

When I returned and as people asked me what happened on that night, “where did you go, what happened on your journey, did the old woman take you,” and countless other questions, I tell them this – on that night, when we came together around our village fire to listen to the ocean breathing, to soak ourselves in the starlight and let the beauty and wonder of it all wash us clean, I had a dream…..I heard Her voice, Her cackling laughter, singing on the wind, carrying the scent of Pine and Birch, rich earth and mossy leaf-mold, and felt the presence of……magic……once more……

……lest you wish upon Her return, lest you meet her with a kiss

lest you pass through her tenfold gates, her secrets she will show you

…….eights a wish, nines a kiss, ten is the bird you must not miss

sacred keeper of star-lore on Earth,

Sweet Medicine Fire of Wisdom….

one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy,

five for silver six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told….

…eights a wish and nines a kiss, ten is the bird you cannot miss

she dances in the dark and lights the way,

Sweet Medicine Fire of Wisdom

A Ring of Apples

…….as I was searching through the hoard of clutter in my cellar at home I found a book from my childhood – a small hardback tome with a red cloth cover and a beautiful embossed border, its design weaving tendrils around the spine and onto the back – in the centre of the front cover was a ring of five circles with five-point stars at the centre of each of them, but, no title! I recognised the book, felt that uncanny wave of excitement you get when a long lost heirloom of your innocent years returns to you, brings its utter star blessing magic back to the child within – the adult child exalted, but, no title on the spine either….

…..this is one of those moments that everything seems to wheel around – I opened the book at random and read…..

“….from somewhere in the forest the kindly voice of the old woman whispered,

‘the ring of apples – its called ‘The Ring of Apples’ – now why do you suppose it has that name?’

‘….it is because it is about the soul’s journey….and where starlight comes from’, and, wrapping my black speckled shawl around my shoulders, I set off on the mossy forest path, silent of footfall.

All was still, with a soft luminous glow of moon-light filtering through the listening trees, showing the way ahead….”

The chapter ended with this mysterious scene – I quickly turned the page

“The Book of Stones and Bones” a new title page announced – strange, I don’t recall this at all, a book within a book, and yet….

over the page is an illustration in rich but faded watercolours showing the cover of a book that is bound in carved bone with leather thongs for the binding. It bears the title announced on the previous page, but, nothing else – the book is resting on a bed of leaves into which are woven subtle patterns and, yes, there are small faces in there, and words, or the fragments of words – …oodbin…., thornber…, honeysu…, dogrose, these seem to be flower names or perhaps

….laughter echoes across a timeless star spangled field of frost covered clover, a crescent moon winks from between the dark twisting branches of circling oaks – and there is music, silvery and otherworldly….

Is that it – they’re names of the forest folk, the woodland spirits – what is this book…..?

Quickly turning to the front of the book something falls from between the pages – I bend down and pick up an apple seed – and then the dream dissolves into daylight……

 

The Heart of the World

A powerful undertow of transformation and healing is pulsing into the realm of ‘ego’ at the Leo New Moon, pulling the energies of Pluto, Chiron and Neptune into our collective and individual psyches. The feeling is of time collapsing in upon itself while complexity proliferates in the world around us……big questions will be asked of our egocentricity through this lunation, and continue breaking down its hold upon how we experience the world. It is akin to the ‘little death’ of the ego, which is the natural process through initiatic and integrative experiences that pull us into the creative matrix, so, do not be fearful if it seems as if the world is falling apart – commit to the path marked out by your own truth, your ‘knowing’, and follow the thread of intuition – it will lead you home. There are always ways and means of help and healing at hand, signs and messages that can show us the way…..these are the gifts of the divine – be on the look-out for them, carry your crane-bag of magical cunning to keep them safely stored in, for those uncanny moments when you need them and their true purpose is revealed – and need them you will!

With all the transpersonal planets in retrograde motion, the veils between the worlds continue to be held open by an inexorable influx of increasingly present archetypal forces now, and holding to our personal path itself takes on new dimensions. Uranus squaring Pluto brings both the shock of the unexpected and the lightningbolt of high magic into the place of deepest transformation, and we may encounter critical junctures and crossroads just when we least expected them. But, the mythical dimensions of Life are here to help us find the purposefulness and core meaning of our own lives. It is true that we are at a time when, under the increasing onslaught of random and chaotic events in the world, paradoxically, meaning itself appears to be fading. However, the paradox is that this is itself a signature of the immanence of the archetypal, which the ego can experience as threatening – so, embrace the paradox and face those fears, they too can be your guide and show you the way. In fact, the more we flee in the face of fear, the more we go astray and lose our thread – that thread is our personal story, the one we came here to tell. It is from the meaning that our own path carries, our own story, that meaning will be rewoven into the world. But, the storyteller Mercury will tell us more of this later….

For now, Mercury is undergoing retrograde phasing throughout this Moon so giving voice to our inner story is the way to bring that meaningfulness into the world. As facing our fears suggests, once the ego sublimates itself to this journey life takes on the dimensions of an heroic quest…..and in this world, everything holds portents, all things have a voice, a song, and the way to the Heart of the World becomes revealed through following their messages. This is the time of the ‘seer’ with a fearless heart.

I was struck, while meditating on this Moon, by Jupiter’s continuing trine to Pluto in Capricorn while forming a tight square to the New Moon – amplifying the earth energies, Jupiter direct in Taurus is colluding with Pluto to manifest them in a deeper cthonic form, one that inhabits the underworld – such power has a supercharged signature and the image of the Minotaur came to mind and, with the square, the challenge is manifest through the creative Leonine power of the ego. While, in confronting and overcoming the Minotaur Theseus saves Ariadne, almost incidentally he released the Athenian youths, seven young men, seven young women, from their fate and certain death as sacrifices to the Minotaur. They are symbols of the essential balance of masculine and feminine in their uninitiated state. Seven is a very dynamic number and holds a magical formula for transformative work that precedes the higher octave, bringing spirit [3] and matter [4] together. Here we have the masculine hero working on behalf of the greater good, but, he does so by following his own inimitable egoistic path – the problem with Theseus is that his own divine origins do not give him a sense of mortality or earthly morality, and so, while his story provides a model for the symbolic journey, he fails to overcome his own hubristic tendencies and, as his story shows, does not relate directly with the power of the seven.

Theseus is a notorius womaniser, prey to his own divinity which in many ways is represented in shadow form by the Minotaur and, although the Minotaur is decapitated after their tremendous struggle, Theseus continues to follow the Olympian paternal ethic. He gains Ariadne, but, later abandons her – and, further down the road we find him immobilised in the underworld, but, that is another story…..strangely, asteroid Zeus is conjunct Saturn at this Moon, so the Olympians are colluding with the Gatekeeper, and Saturn is in waxing sextile to this New Moon. The old battle continues, and the labyrinth is about more than fear waiting to be defeated at its center…..there is a much older and deeper story playing out beneath this one.

The Minotaur is half man half bull, befitting the cthonic Taurean symbolism perhaps, but, there are powerful forces at work in the world in our times that he too symbolises through the hidden terror he instills – Theseus later journey to Pluto’s realms brought him face to face with them, the Furies. He lost his courage in that encounter and it was only through Hercules intervention, while fulfilling his twelth task, that he was saved. This is a powerful reflection of the magnitude of our task…..

Some are touting this time as apocalyptic, tieing fear onto 2012 and all that…….so lets not forget that all the negative connotations this word carries are the product of doctrinal fear and that ‘apocalypse’ has become a much misunderstood word for all that fear mongering – it actually means ‘pulling aside the veils’, ‘revelation’. The last Moon showed us something of this, revealed our connections with the deeper layers of life through the ancestors, a call to clear and resolve unfinished business, so that we may take up our spirit dance anew. Much of that unfinished business is itself the product of fear, its distorting effects upon our sense of self, the cause of many a regretable decision. But, we also have the unbridled rage of terrorism in our midst :

“The lumbering trinity of beaurocracy, technology and information is powerful enough to mask the Furies’ archaic-spirit. And so, from out of the shadows comes the weird and terrifying appearance of errant and furious individuals, terrorists, whose archaic and ‘spiritual’ identifications allows them to be the very agents of vengeful justice. The Furies’ archaic spirit seems to have entered the cracked vessel of terrorism, and a fearsome ‘God’ may be found on everyone’s side, behind both the terrorists acts and the wars we conduct in response.” (1) – and terrorism flies many flags, not least of all the flag of hypocrisy……

“….the current leader on the ‘War on Terror’ is the only State in the world that’s been condemned by the World Court for ‘international terrorism’ and that has vetoed a resolution calling on all States to observe International Law….” (2) – and we all know which ‘State’ is being refered to here…..but, we have wisdom in our midst…..

“If those chosen to act as commanders and chiefs cannot remember the paths of peace, if they are too enthralled with the haze of war and the thrill of ‘shock and awe’ to find the pipes of peace, then the common people must recreate the paths of peace within themselves and become like many feathers in the headdress of a peace chief.

This may be the only way to avoid the increasing domination of the war path which always has the short-coming of being short-sighted and reactionary. The paths of the peace chiefs call on something deeper inside people and aim at something further down the line. The paths of peace are not only the upper paths, they are the only paths that provide genuine refuge from the dangers of the world including the seductions of power that come to all who become leaders in times of great threat and trouble.” (3)

The ‘revelation’ times make great souls of us all….we all resonate with the myths that tell of the soul’s quest, through which it finds self realisation, the path towards inner peace; we all have a unique story to tell. For some the journey takes us beyond the horizons of our homeland, searching for the treasure that will make us whole and bring great wealth to the homeland. For others the journey takes us beyond the boundaries of the outer world, the pathway magnetically charged with magical and otherworldly power, powers that transform us and embue us with the power to transform. One thing is certain about this Moon….the whole field, like a labyrinth of crossing pathways and entangled threads, is very complex and full of potential wrong turns. Be on the lookout too for the trickster at the crossroads, and don’t be fooled into trading your gifts for an easy way out……on such journeys there are none such…..

Our choices may become polarised, but, all routes lead to the heart of the matter, one way or another….and in Mercury opposing Neptune and Chiron we find a miraculous symbol of healing that will lead us there. Mercury is on an inner journey, seeking out the heart of everything – a seemingly impossible task, unless you know where to look. But, the canny trickster has a whisper from the divine feminine calling him…..spending a part of the retrograde period in Virgo, Mercury then returns to Leo to work the fiery creative energy within until going direct again just before the August New Moon. All these ingredients have given Mercury a story to tell. The Virgin points the way towards the Great Mother, She Who Weaves the World…..

Lets listen to Mercury’s story……

“……everyone is looking for something and there are as many trails in the world as there are people – well, the world is a wonderous place for all that, but, that wonder comes from somewhere behind this world, a hidden inner place, and we all have the road to that place somewhere within ourselves, so maybe thats what we are looking for uh? Well, if you should find that trail, follow it, no matter what!, for it leads to a hidden cave – oh, but, caves can be scary places, so how many of us, even when we find it, want to go in there – this one is different though, you’ll know it when you get there, for this is a sacred place, filled with a song of its own and it will call you in – that song is sung by an old woman as she weaves a beautiful blanket, right there in the heart of the world – she’s been weaving away in there for a long long time, making ever more beautiful patterns of all the colours imaginable – but, thats not her only task, for right at the back of the cave is a fire and above the fire she has a huge cauldron – in it she has a stew slowly cooking – now, this is a no ordinary stew for it has in it all the seeds and grains of the flowering plants and trees of the world, and so every now and then she has to put down her weaving work and go stir the stew, as its the very stew of creation – well, she doesn’t mind this at all as she is old and sometimes gets to feel tired from her weaving – now, it so happens that in that cave there also lives a black dog, a tricky one this, as he’s looking out for those times when the old lady gets tired……and as the old woman is heading to the back of the cave to stir the stew of creation, that wiley black dog slinks up to her beautiful blanket and, seeing a lose thread at the edge of the blanket, he bites on it and pulls! There he is, unravelling all the beauty that the old woman has been weaving for such a long time, and he keeps on pulling until the whole thing is nothing but a chaotic mess of threads on the cave floor…..well, having stirred the cauldron with the stew of creation to her satisfaction, the old lady turns and heads back to her weaving and at that moment off slinks the wiley old black dog again. You can imagine it….the old woman just stops and stares at the remnants of her beautiful work lying there……well, she thinks for a while and dreams for a while into that amazing chaos of colour until, she sees something amidst the chaos – and, with this new imagining, she sits down and takes up her threads and begins weaving the beautiful blanket once more….lost in the dreaming she never gives a thought to how it might have happened, because the beauty she has within her, her dreaming and imagining, is a power that heals all things…..and as she weaves she sings in the darkness, lit by the beauty she is weaving and the fire that heats the stew of creation……”

We’ll come back to the old Grandmother in the next post, and take a look at her beautiful blanket, the weaving of our ways, and, those mysterious seeds she’s been stirring into creation….. if you find something wondrous and beautiful on your journey, make a gift of it to her – she may weave it into her blanket again…..or, perhaps she’ll give you a taste of the magical stew of creation….

(1) from ‘Blood Payments’ : Sherry Salman in ‘Terror, Violence and the Impulse to Destroy’, Daimon Verlag, 2003

(2) Noam Chomsky : ‘Power and Terror’, Pluto Press, 2003

(3) Michael Meade : from the essay ‘Going on the Path of Peace’, at mosaicvoices.org

 

 

Storyteller and the Spirit Horse!

Here’s a tale straight from the Spotted Owl Archive of medicine stories…..it’s an old tale from Spotted Owl herself, retold for the Lunar Eclipse……!!

“Now….Once upon a time we all know well enough in our bones, well, there was a Moon, a Full Moon – she was just a perfect mirror, a real soul pool – some called her the ‘Story Midwife Moon’, others just ‘Storyteller’, but, she was the one who knows the truth inside things, speaks it too, brings it out into the world – oh yes, she was most illumined with knowing, and she was always coming at the sixth counting of the Lunar tides, the ‘women’s tides’ – well, within her bag of tales she carried theoldest songs of the warm oceans – she knew the secrets of the green forest folk, the messages carried in their sap – she held council with our animal brothers and sisters who told her how they had brought the star wisdom to Earth and held it here in good faith for all of us, all Life – and she could foretell and foresee the pathways of our children’s dreamings, the soul messages of the swelling fruits soon to come to Earth – yes, she knew what was in our hearts and was friend to women and men alike, though each to their own calling, as it is….

…..and so it was that while the hunters made their offerings and asked for her guidance before setting off on tracks bathed in the light of her knowing, well, the expectant mothers would call upon her to speak with the spirit of their womb-borne, as was the tradition on the sixth Moon of their pregnacy – it was a good time as those ‘soon to arrive’ were now returning from swimming amongst the inner stars – and, when all were ready, the wise women were called to bring out the old Moon songs and all sought to hear of the purpose that each of  ‘the returning ones’ would be bringing, to find their true names, ones that would remind them when they got here of why they came – after all, we all forget otherwise eh?!…..

…….so, gathering in the women’s circle and raising the old ocean songs, their movements and rhythms filled with memories of ancestral heartbeats, the thrumbing of their spirit horses carrying them, the wise ones would circle the boundaries of the nine realms and fly beyond this world – off they flew to find council with ‘Storyteller’ as she rocked the spirit children within her great canoe, wrapped within the folds of her silver, blood-red and blue-black medicine blanket – but, it was the mothers themselves who would speak with their womb-borne ‘cos they were the living gateway between the worlds and they fed the souls of their children with the deep knowing of the Great Mother that they held within their own flesh, blood and bones – yes, it was a good time….only, it happened once on a blue moon, as they say, but, that Moon Woman, old ‘Storyteller’ she went missing……!

…..well, here it comes, that ‘blue one’, coming up right now…..yes, that old silver shining Moon woman threw one into their midst, turning first to deep sanguine reds and then even deeper indigos and eventually all blue-black darkness – twas as if she’d been swallowed by the Sky herself, leaving only a shadow and an echo in the silence…..and out in the land the hunters stopped in their tracks….”shheeesh!..where’s the light gone, what kinda dreaming is this?!” they said to each other under their breath, and the animal brothers and sisters stopped with ’em and whispered too “….ahh, there it is, there it is….!”

Oooh, but, the mothers and wise women, they kept their thoughts held on the old ‘Storyteller’, and followed her…..oh yes, they knew just what she had going, wise as women are to Her ways…and they kept right on with their thrumming and singing, softly, softly now – and turning their ears inward, they listened and listened, followed and followed…..

….and in that place, where everything opened out on the inside, as it were, in that ‘all at once’ place that the mothers plumbed with their own pregnant dreamings, what did they find……well

….first, people, you should take a listen yourselves, just for this moment….its a big moment, room for us all…..and there, “ahh, there it is, there it is!”…..a whisper…..a gentle shimmer of sound, like the shells and coral at the bottom of the deep ocean, swaying and singing like a slow breathing, with a soft deep heartbeat….you remember that sound?!

So, where had that sky crone ‘Storyteller Woman’ gotten to? Well, a big wind had blown in from the stars, sent by the Ancestors themselves – this wind, it was a kinda song, but, not just any old song – this one, it could only be called ‘Big Mystery’! And, it came from the heart of all things, which was everywhere y’see, yet hidden inside….but, Storyteller Woman knew what it meant, and, in that moment, she herself stopped her singing and listened…..and as she did so, she saw the great spirit-horse of the Earth Mother, come flying swiftly towards her, twisting and turning like a great cloud on the wind…..up it came and down it came, and swooped her up, took her with it as it fell right into the very heart of everything……

….now, here is another mystery! Cos’, in that deepest of places, the ‘all at once’ place, was a great lake, an inner ocean as it were…..and as the churning, spinning spirit-horse of the Great Mother carried Storyteller Woman ever more down and down into the watery heartland of the dreaming, those waters too began to spin and churn…..

….and here too, back under the darkened Moon, everything began to spin and churn, a big mix-up and very confusing it was….thats how we feel it, when ‘Storyteller Woman’ goes silent and disappears…..we don’t know what to think now do we! Aaah, but, there it is, there it is…..

…..but, it was the mothers who knew what they were at, and, keeping their ears turned inward like, they followed that soft sound with their hearts, right down into the womb of all things…….whispers from the deepest ocean……like the song of silence itself….right down deep in the heart of everything!

Now…..your probably wondering just what had happened to all those young-old spirit children that our Moon Mother, the ‘Story Midwife’ had been looking after! She had up and left them all wrapped up in her medicine blanket rocking inside her great canoe – and that was the long and the short of it…..those little ones were so comfy in there they were fast asleep and dreaming their spirit dreams, warm and safe and invisible to the world, rocking away gently…..but, their dreaming…..

Just as ‘Storyteller’ knew what to do, just as the wise ones and pregnant mothers knew what to do, so did all the spirit children…..and when ‘Storyteller’ reached the very bottom of that deep inner ocean place, right inside the ‘all at once’, well there they all were, the mothers dreaming with the womb-borne’s dreaming, all together inside the great dreaming, swaying with that whispering, shimmeying old old song……

…….and so, meanwhile, while we were all running around in this big mix-up wondering what to do, not knowing what to think and feeling out of sorts, it was the spirit children right then who told the mothers why they were coming here, only this time it was with a big message, right from the heart of the great dreaming itself, which is where the old Story Midwife had led them this time! And so, just as they knew how to, the mothers passed those precious dreamings back to the old silvery one, ‘Storyteller’, and, now that all the women, young and old had worked and dreamt together, She knew just who it was coming in this time, this special bunch, and what they were coming for – and once ‘Storyteller’ heard this, thats when She kicked into action! Up she flew again on the Earth Mother’s spirit horse, right up, all the way back to her canoe, filled up with those stories that belonged to the sleeping womb-borne spirit children….and, as she climbed back in, off flew the spirit horse and up she began with her songs again….now she knew just when would be the right time to bring each of those new-old ones to Earth, their birthing times….such was her job, the ‘Story Midwife’!

….and yeh, you guessed it, out came her light and illuminated everyone down below in the lap of the Earth Mother….phew! What a relief! Everything returned to normal…..or did it?

Well, on the face of it everything looked the same, was all in the right place – yep, it was all just where it had been before the light went out in old ‘Storyteller’ and she stopped singing her songs, but, it felt different – things had ‘come to light’ now that had not been known before, something was afoot in the world and, thanks to ‘Storyteller’, the mothers and wise ones knew those special names that they would give back to their children when they arrived, the very ones the spirit children themselves had told them in their stories in the midst of the Big Dreaming……

……that next lot though, the old-new ones coming in, well, they had the names to remind them that the stories they were bringing this time would be holding open the gateways straight to the heart of the great dreaming, Big Mystery itself! That sure enough felt different, and wouldn’t you if you knew that everything was going to be renewed…….and once new Life comes into this world, well nothing is ever going to be the same again, now is it?!

….ha ha, now thats a good thing to know at this time…..sweet dreamings t’y’al!”

so, thanks to Spotted Owl for giving us a glimpse of…….well, who knows whats in store, as we negotiate these eclipses and swing around that old Solar hitching post at the Solstice……we’ll come back to the eclipses and the Story Midwife next time and see what the stars have got to say about it all …..next post,  coming soon!

Venus, etc….

 “Mother is a pragmatic word – how many people consider that the mother is the Great Archetype because each human being comes through the mother and the Great Mother is the constancy in human life as well as in spiritual life that provides a bridge….”
Angeles Arrien

“It is tragic what we are doing to this planet and we just massacre the Mother, and we massacre the mother inside of ourselves, because the compassion, the love, the beingness, the presence that makes life worth living, that makes Life, is in that archetype, the bridge between the concept of deep self and the capacity to love, and so when that archetype is lost or foresaken we will have more violence in the world….”
Marion Woodman

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it…….The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.”
Aung San Suu Kyi

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.” Unknown

meanwhile, on another planet
in a different universe
where time is a field of stars
that are really holes in the fabric of reality
letting the light of the dreamworld through

ANCESTOR ALERT!

So heres a fine thing – while passing through and surviving the whelter of Zombies, Witches, Darkling Angels, Faerie Folk, Underworld Agents, Skeletons, Trick-or-Treaters and other suitably garbed Halloween revellers who have been joyously spewing out of the closets, graves and imaginations around our culturally endorsed celebrations of ancestral and otherworldly connections on All Hallows Eve, or Samhain, if you have the knack of it, I spied none other than SUPERMAN!!, wearing a cowboy hat and looking very pleased with himself – and he was not alone – ALLADIN was not far behind…..followed by METALLICA lookalikes, DARTH VADER and a certain tall beefy person clad in little more than green fishnet tights…………fol-de-rol and other such gewgaws……

Meanwhile, over at Facebook, the (seriously) wonderous and sage Caitlin (and I do mean ‘seriously’) had posed a magnificent conundrum that hit the nail right on the proverbial – the gist being, and this is not a direct quote, ‘if you had burning questions for the Ancestors that would be able to sate our cuiousity, calm our doubts and provide us with useful and pragmatic insights into our relationships with them in the answering, what would they be??’

Never the one to shy from the nutshell, Caitlin’s chestnut stands in ever so stark contrast to Superman, Alladin and Metallica…..or does it (Darth and green fishnet tights not withstanding) ?!?!

Confused? Well I wonder what ancestral hubbub would be kicked up if Superman, Alladin, Metallica and Big Darth turned up at the hearth of the eternal flame burning at the center of their great indigenous village in the sky (this is not neccessarily the location of the Ancestors folks – Ed.)…..send your answers etc…

Fact is, apart from having a belly wobbling good laugh with the unexpected guests and passing round a few overflowing flagands of nectorous mead into the bargain, they would probably wait until all the fuss had died down (no pun intended) and then call a meeting, in the wee small hours of the twighlight world, in order to find out WHAT ON EARTH is going on and WHAT IN THE NAME OF ETERNITY they can do about it – and, the sad fact is that we would be the ones expected to provide the answers – ho hum…..

Anyhows, to cut to the chase, I don’t know about you, but, the vast western majority seem to love the whole darn thing – and, lets face it, no matter what you choose to do, be, wear, there are some serious psychoses (plural) at the center of our burgeoning global culture, and so, bringing all the fabulousity of our magic making celebrations into an apex of absurdity may just be the best way of shaking off the canker of neural burnout that we are so often clad in and, in so doing, help heal the wound that has created such an impoverished old spider’s thread of our once magnificent umbilical connection to the glorious and inglorious ones who have gone before us, whom we lovingly and sometimes, oft-times, unlovingly, but, universally know as and call our Ancestors. (you cannot be serious – Ed.)

OK, BUT…..you’re right Ed., this could just be mistaking the symptom for the cure….for, be under no misapprehension dearly beloved, we have seriously gotten our work cut out if we don’t want to be trapped in an eternal hell of neurotic burn-out with the prospect of a repeating pattern of foam cast devils masks, plastic pitchforks and stuffed satin horns to become the accepted and beyond questioning heritage of our children and their children’s children….not to mention CHRISTMAS (you said you wouldn’t mention Christmas! – Ed.)

And, as a brief afterword to the above, for readers in the UK, just whose bright idea was it to move Bone Fire Night from the 31st of October to the 5th of November and call it Bonfire Night thus tieing it in to an attempted political act of assasination that would have seen off the reigning King James the 1st in the hope of restoring a Catholic monarchy in Britain?!!! Now renamed Fireworks Night millions celebrate by burning an (in all likelihood unknowingly) Catholic effigy on blazing beacons and sending millions in hard earned wonga up in spectacular smoke, noise and light displays while quaffing barbequed sausages, baked potatoes and tinnies of every description….WE LOVE IT…..but

(is that it….?? – Ed.)

No Ed. – theres more – look at the state of our selves on this beautiful planet and, picking up the Ancestors baton, ask “what on earth is going on, and what in eternity are we doing about it?”

We all want our kids to have the best, enjoy Life and know the ecstacy of celebration, who would ever deny them this – if we were seriously to ask of ourselves and the Ancestors how we can make sure they, our kids, will have a good shot at continuing to partake of such incarnate pleasures when we are gone, what do you think the answers might be – and, one last thing, when we have become the Ancestors how would we like our children and their children’s children to relate to us?………

(Ok Ed?……..Ed!?…..)

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